Senior officials from Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam met in Phnom Penh yesterday to discuss advances made in recent years against human trafficking and set goals for future counter-trafficking efforts.
They were joined by representatives of NGOs and civil society groups for the 10th Senior Officials Meeting under the Coordinated Mekong Ministerial Initiative against Trafficking (COMMIT).
Among the speakers at the event, Brett Dickson of the International Organization for Migration presented the results of health surveys of more than 1,000 trafficked people.
“Human trafficking needs to be seen as a health issue,” Dickson told the delegates.
Independent journalist Karen Emmons also spoke on the role of the media and the need for officials to see them as allies rather than enemies.
“There’s concern in some countries that to talk about the problem hurts tourism, for example,” Emmons said in an interview. “I think it doesn’t hurt tourism; talking about problems makes a country stronger.”
The event closes today.